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Friday, June 23, 2006

Dubious Fairy Tales

The past couple of years have undermined the public’s faith in writers.

The Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times confirmed what most of us always believed—that reporters sometimes make up quotes … and even entire interviews. Then we struggled with the knowledge that a bestselling “memoir” contained as much fiction as fact.

But now it’s getting worse. We are discovering that our fairy tales—the literary bedrock of our civilization—have deceived us.

This revelation emerges from a report out of British Colombia that invalidates the story in which Goldilocks goes to the bears’ house and eats their porridge. We now learn that the real word doesn’t work that way; a woman in West Vancouver returned home recently to discover a bear in HER kitchen eating HER oatmeal.

I feel violated. If the Goldilocks fairy tale duped us, how can we maintain our confidence in the other fables of our youth?

Sleeping Beauty wasn’t in a magical sleep; she was just napping all along.

Cinderella didn’t slide her foot into a glass slipper; she got the handsome prince’s attention through some Fredrick’s of Hollywood get-up.

And how can I still believe that the slow tortoise defeated the speedy hare in that famous race?

Perhaps it’s time to consider exchanging these old fairy tales for some new, more practical ones. Like Little Red Hiding Hood encountering not a wolf, but an online predator. Or the story of the liberal in moderate clothing.

If we don’t consider new fables, we risk that our youth will not learn the right lessons to make their way in today’s world. Maybe outdated fairy tales will threaten our very way of life. Civilization as we know could face extinction.

Or maybe I’m just crying wolf.

22 Comments:

At June 23, 2006 12:55 PM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

Actually, Prince Charming slipped Roofies into Sleepy Beauty's drink.

 
At June 23, 2006 2:19 PM, Blogger OnMyWatch replied to my musings ...

I liked Anne Rice's version of Sleeping Beauty much better. Fairytales are an abomination. :)

 
At June 23, 2006 3:45 PM, Blogger Bruce replied to my musings ...

Brings a whole new meaning to the name Brothers Grimm, doesn't it?

 
At June 23, 2006 4:35 PM, Blogger Laurie replied to my musings ...

Ann Coulter is being accused of "borrowing" from others for her piece of crap that is disguised as a book... but no one seems to care.

 
At June 23, 2006 5:25 PM, Blogger ~ good girl ~ replied to my musings ...

Bugger, David. You're scaring me. I want to believe Enid Blyton's Enchanted Wood does exist.

If it doesn't, how shall I ever get to taste Toffee Shock, the candy of choice for fairies and Moonfaces??!

G-U-L-P.

GG

 
At June 23, 2006 6:43 PM, Blogger Tai replied to my musings ...

Hey!

Wait till they find out that Rapunzel used her hair to get HERSELF out of that damned tower!

 
At June 23, 2006 8:42 PM, Blogger ChickyBabe replied to my musings ...

Good post, David! I question the relevancy of some of those fairy tales in modern day living. Should we be teaching little girls about Prince Charming or invent more contemporary fables that retain romance yet provide a sense of reality? I think far too many girls grow up believing in fairy tales...

 
At June 24, 2006 1:43 AM, Blogger fatty ~ replied to my musings ...

how can i live without the bedrock of my fairytales!

great post!

 
At June 24, 2006 6:42 AM, Blogger Carmel replied to my musings ...

All I know is that I would rather run into a wolf and be eaten than run into an online predator in the woods!
=)

 
At June 24, 2006 7:50 AM, Blogger missy replied to my musings ...

It has taken me ages to do my blog-round especially after doing a week-long birthday celebration!

Anyway, I'm visiting to say hello and thank you for coming to my universe. I do write about what I've had for dinner and my friends' quirkiness... well sometimes, I do, so it's good to go to another blog that's more serious than mine ;-)

Will be back to read up more xx

 
At June 24, 2006 2:35 PM, Blogger Catch replied to my musings ...

Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Children today have their own sleeping beauties...its their supposedly Mother, on crack...and they have their own little red riding hoods...the big bad wolf is their Mothers boyfriend. What these kids today grow up with is anything but a fairy tale. Not all kids but a lot of them. And its a heartbreaker to be sure. Arent you glad I stopped by...lol

 
At June 24, 2006 3:15 PM, Blogger jay lassiter replied to my musings ...

did the bear get slapped with a plagorism suit by any chance?

 
At June 24, 2006 11:58 PM, Blogger Phats replied to my musings ...

Your blog is great I love it! Just stopping by to say hi :)

 
At June 25, 2006 12:24 PM, Anonymous fred charles replied to my musings ...

My wife and I often talk about the violent nature of the some of these old fairytales and nusery rhymes that we tell our kids. London Bridge and Rock-a-Bye-Baby have particularly interesting words. Luckily are daughter is too young to understand these songs. And people say that Slayer is violent!

 
At June 25, 2006 3:03 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Thanks to visitors, old and new, for your thoughts on this! On your point, F.C., I totally agree. When you really listen to the details of these old fables, they are downright scary.

Supposedly, fairy tales developed that way quite on purpose in the medieval world to teach the young about various dangers, like predators in the woods, in the case of Little Red Riding Hood. Phoenix is on to something; modern dangers are more likley to come from crrepy men in bars than wolves in the forest.

-- david

 
At June 26, 2006 10:33 AM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

I was forced to watch this Broadway play called "Into the Woods". It showed how many of those real stories ended. In one ending, Cinderella's Prince Charming was a womanizer and Cinderella was a prude who didn't give it up.

 
At June 26, 2006 10:35 AM, Blogger Nova replied to my musings ...

Throughout our lives we are misled though, it's hard to say that we shouldn't believe in anything from any point in time. What about children and Santa? It's hard to tell whether you should mislead your child just because it's the most common thing in today's civilization. But on the same hand up until I started reading a certain book; "Fingerprints of the Gods" by Graham Hancock I believed that the Aztecs were the first civilization to date, and that spherical trigonometry was something recently discovered when it obviously wasn't. Maybe it's due to the fact that we don't have the information to make things better? Perhaps fairy tales were only apt when they were concieved and are actually outdated as you say and need the recent touches so that society can relate to them once again.

 
At June 26, 2006 4:58 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

A.J.: Given your use of "forced," I'm guessing this wasn't your idea of a good time.

Nova: Congratulations--his is the first time the phrase "spherical trigonometry" has appeared on this site.

-- david

 
At June 26, 2006 8:04 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard replied to my musings ...

Hansel and Gretel should be retold from the wicked witch's perspective, in my opinion.

The little twerps were trying to eat her house!

I don't know about fattening them up to eat them, but she should have at least been able to try to recoup her loses, and sell them for camel jockeys in the white slave market in Katmandoo.

 
At June 27, 2006 10:44 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

Well Disney did a fair job of butchering some of the classic fairy tales-- In Cinderella, one of the stepsisters cuts off one of her toes to try to fit it into the glass slipper... In The Little Mermaid she actually dies in the end and she doesn't get her man. God only knows what kinds of liberties Disney took with Snow White & the Seven Dwarves, Sleeping Beauty and Pinnochio!

 
At June 28, 2006 10:00 AM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

"Three police officers who went to the home Thursday couldn't get the bear to budge, so authorities let the animal finish its meal"

Just imagining that sent me into fits of laughter. Was the bear using her spoon too? Now THAT would be gross.

I have personally observed several "ugly ducklings" grow up into "beautiful swans" without the assistance of that plastic surgery show....so I'm for believing in "some" of our favorite childhood fairy tales....

 
At June 29, 2006 3:06 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

And look at all the wonders the story of The Princess and the Pea has done for the mattress industry!

The Emperor's New Clothes is the definitive tale for nudists everywhere (although their interpretation of it is decidedly different from the rest of us)

 

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